Foundation for the Defense of Democracies: Overnight Brief May 11, 2022

  

FDD's Overnight Brief

May 11, 2022

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Russia

The U.S. spy chief said Russian President Vladimir Putin still seeks to control swaths of Ukraine beyond the eastern region known as the Donbas, after local authorities said Russian missiles struck the port city of Odessa overnight, killing one person and wounding others. – Wall Street Journal 

Maria V. Alyokhina first came to the attention of the Russian authorities — and the world — when her punk band and performance art group Pussy Riot staged a protest against President Vladimir V. Putin in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral. – New York Times 

Russia’s nearly three-month-old invasion of neighboring Ukraine has been punctuated by flawed planning, poor intelligence, barbarity and wanton destruction. But obscured in the daily fighting is the geographic reality that Russia has made gains on the ground. – New York Times 

Russia’s foreign minister met Tuesday with the president of Algeria, marking 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries with hopes of deepening ties. – Associated Press 

The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for the Czech Republic to replace Russia on the world organization’s leading human rights body following its suspension over allegations of horrific rights violations by Russian soldiers in Ukraine. – Associated Press 

Sergey Rylov heard the thud as a Russian missile was shot down on its way toward Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, a town on the Black Sea coast of Ukraine where he’s lived since fleeing the fighting in the east a month ago. – Bloomberg 

Boris Johnson vowed to ramp up pressure on Vladimir Putin’s “cronies” by driving dirty money out of the U.K., as the prime minister set out an agenda that is also heavy on electoral priorities including cutting pandemic-hit hospital waiting lists and boosting disadvantaged regions. – Bloomberg 

The Crimean human rights activist and nurse disappeared on her way home from work in the Russian-annexed peninsula more than a week ago. She has not been seen since. – CNN 

The EU is preparing to loosen its environmental regulations as it seeks to replace Russian fossil fuels with renewable energy and imported hydrogen power. – Financial Times 

A Republican senator is pushing the US Treasury to tighten its sanctions on a range of companies, warning that gaps in the current regime are strengthening the hand of Russian president Vladimir Putin. – Financial Times 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought the world to the brink of a mass international famine that “will kill millions of people,” according to the lead U.S. official for global food security. – Washington Examiner 

Lithuania’s parliament announced on Tuesday that it had adopted a resolution in which it called Russia “a state supporting and carrying out terrorism” and recognized Russia’s actions in Ukraine as a genocide. – The Hill  

Russian generals are being killed due to a weak chain of command during their invasion of Ukraine, Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said at a hearing Tuesday. – Newsweek 

The Ukrainian government announced Tuesday that all Russian assets in the nation will be seized and used to help rebuild what has been destroyed in the ongoing war. – Newsweek 

After Vladimir Putin was seen speaking Monday with a man during the Victory Day celebrations in Moscow, rumors began circulating on social media that the man had been designated as the Russian president’s successor. – Newsweek 

The Russian military is allegedly counting killed soldiers in Ukraine as “missing” to hide the true number of combat losses, a Ukrainian government agency said Tuesday. – Newsweek 

Russia’s losses during its invasion of Ukraine forced Russian President Vladimir Putin to change his goals, according to British intelligence. – Newsweek 

The Pentagon on Monday refuted Russia’s claims that some Ukrainian civilians are willingly traveling to Russia. – Newsweek 

Tom Stevenson writes: Diplomatic efforts ought to be the centerpiece of a new Ukraine strategy. Instead, the war’s boundaries are being expanded and the war itself recast as a struggle between democracy and autocracy, in which the Donbas is the frontier of freedom. This is not just declamatory extravagance. It is reckless. The risks hardly need to be stated. – New York Times 

Tyler Cowen writes: The alternative is to speak repeatedly about Russia’s nuclear outrage and to keep the attention of the world focused on it as a special and uniquely evil event. The risk in doing so is that we would elevate Putin’s rebellion against Western norms and raise his supposedly heroic profile among those who support him. If you talk about a tyrant but don’t punish him, he may end up all the stronger. Furthermore, it isn’t obvious whether “trending on Twitter” would support such a Biden strategy in the longer run. – Bloomberg 

Luke McGee writes: Of course, nothing is certain until Finland makes the first move of declaring its intention. But with public approval, political support and Russia providing every reason for another of its neighbors to join its hated rival, there’s little doubt that Putin’s gambit to decrease NATO’S influence in Europe has backfired, spectacularly. – CNN 

Joseph Bosco writes: Of all people on earth, the Holy Father should recognize and condemn the pure evil that Putin embodies. Yet, the moral leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics has chosen to legitimize and amplify Putin’s disgustingly cynical posturing as the wronged party in the humanitarian horrors he has unleashed. Pope Francis’s position sadly betrays Pope John Paul’s heroic stance against Soviet domination of Eastern and Central Europe. It is up to the less saintly leaders of the temporal order to bring the Putin barbarian to heel and show that NATO’s bite is stronger than its bark. – The Hill 

Cristina Florea writes: With or without Putin at the helm, Russia would likely have reemerged after 1991 as a revisionist power, just as it did after World War I. […]But first it must be completely defeated, along with Putin’s illiberal and nativist vision of empire. And although Ukraine and its allies in the West can help with the former, only Russians can achieve the latter. – Foreign Affairs 

Seth Gordon Benzell writes: Second, the longer the war goes on, the more the Russian government can react to and ameliorate the lack of foreign investment. One important mechanism for this might be oligarchs reshoring their wealth and investing it domestically. By going after wealthy Russians, the West may actually be accelerating this process, and thus undermining the goals of sanctions. […]Instead, the West should be doing what it can to accelerate the emigration of Russia’s best and brightest. Things are bad for Russia’s economy now, but it would be in even worse shape without the disgruntled but technically sophisticated Muscovites who Putin despises. – War on the Rocks 

Iran

The European Union coordinator of talks to revive Iran’s nuclear accord with world powers said Tuesday he was traveling to Tehran, as the bloc makes a last-ditch effort to salvage the deal after a weekslong standstill. – Associated Press 

Iran is attempting to inflict “revenge” against the United States over the assassination of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, according to the director of national intelligence. – Washington Examiner  

The head of the United Nations’ atomic watchdog said on Tuesday Iran was dragging its feet on information about uranium particles found at old undeclared sites in the country, raising the prospect of a clash on the issue in June. – Reuters 

Qatar’s emir will travel to Tehran on Thursday, Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported. – Reuters 

Iran will need to import at least 7 million tonnes of wheat in the year to March 2023, marking a second year of high imports as drought continues to affect domestic production, the chairman of Iran’s Grain Union said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi has announced plans to cut back bread subsidies as wheat prices soar globally and Tehran tries to steer an economy hard hit by US sanctions on oil exports. – Financial Times 

Michael Doran writes: As a means of stopping Iran from getting a bomb, the nuclear deal is sadly wanting; but as a tool for branding the Saudis, the domestic rivals of the progressives, and, above all, the Israelis as warmongers, it is an effective propaganda tool. When a kinder and gentler Islamic Republic fails to arrive—and fail it most certainly will—then the Biden administration mandarins will lecture us like didactic professors. More in sorrow than in anger, they will shake their heads and lament the fact that those damned Israelis and Saudis just couldn’t learn to share the Middle East with the Iranians. We tried to tell them, but they just wouldn’t listen. – Common Sense 

Afghanistan

Exiled Afghans are urging a federal judge to reject the effort by relatives of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to seize $3.5 billion in frozen Afghan central bank funds to pay off judgment debts owed by the Taliban, recent court filings show. – New York Times 

The United Nations Security Council will meet on Thursday to discuss an order by Afghanistan’s Taliban for women to cover their faces in public, a return to a signature policy of the Islamist group’s past hardline rule and an escalation of restrictions. – Reuters 

Top U.S. intelligence officials were questioned Tuesday about why they misjudged the durability of governments in both Afghanistan and Ukraine, and whether they need to reform how intelligence agencies assess a foreign military’s will to fight. – Associated Press 

About a dozen women protested in the Afghan capital on Tuesday against the Taliban’s new edict that females must fully cover their faces and bodies when in public. – Agence France-Presse  

The Pentagon congratulated The New York Times Tuesday for winning a Pulitzer Prize for its highly critical expose of civilian deaths in the Afghanistan war, saying the report forced the US military to examine its own behavior. – Agence France-Presse 

A Taliban official has admitted that his daughters go to school, despite a ban on Afghan girls getting an education in the country. – Newsweek 

Clashes between Taliban forces and fighters of Afghanistan’s National Resistance Front in the fiercely contested Afghan province of Panjshir today underscore the volatility of the situation in Afghanistan nearly nine months after the Taliban’s ignominious takeover of the troubled country. – New York Sun 

Editorial: After its disgraceful withdrawal, the Biden Administration has a particular duty to help Americans and allies left behind. Keeping the world’s attention on Taliban abuses is an essential part of that duty. – Wall Street Journal 

Syria

International donors on Tuesday pledged $6.7 billion to help Syrians and neighboring countries hosting refugees but fell well short of a U.N. target for assistance to millions of people from conflict-torn Syria who rely on aid to survive. – Associated Press 

A site in southern Syria was damaged in an Israeli missile attack in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday, Syrian state media reported. – Times of Israel 

Israeli water-from-air tech company Watergen has installed one of its water generators at a medical facility in the Syrian province of Raqqa, the former headquarters of terror organization IS, and is set to deliver nine more by the end of 2022, the company told The Times of Israel Tuesday. – Times of Israel 

Russian-flagged ships filled with stolen Ukrainian grain are transporting the looted cargo to Syria, according to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry. The ships have already reached the Mediterranean Sea, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense’s main intelligence directorate said on Tuesday, and from Syria, the grain may be smuggled to other countries in the Middle East. – Washington Examiner 

Qatar, on Tuesday, pledged $50 million to support the Syrian people during a conference held in Brussels on Syria’s future, Anadolu News Agency reports. – Middle East Monitor 

Turkey

But in recent months, things have changed. Grappling with a weak economy, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sought to rebuild relations with one-time foes across the Middle East in an effort to boost trade and investment. That has come with consequences for Egyptian channels that have made Turkey, a rare haven for Arab opposition, their home. – Financial Times 

Turkey has not expelled members of the Palestinian Hamas movement and isn’t planning to kick out the Muslim Brotherhood presence in the country either, a senior Turkish official and other sources told Middle East Eye. – Middle East Eye 

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar spoke over the phone with his Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksii Reznikov, and discussed the issue of ensuring safe transportation of Turkish Armed Forces A400M aircraft and commercial ships waiting in Ukrainian ports to Turkey, the Turkish Defense Ministry has said. – Hurriyet Daily News 

Israel

Israel’s top court called on Tuesday for the conclusion of a long-running trial of a Palestinian aid worker accused of funneling tens of millions of dollars in relief funds to the Islamic militant group Hamas, charges he has consistently denied. – Reuters 

Arab politicians, organizations and media sources condemned the death of prominent Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqla on Wednesday morning, accusing Israel and the IDF of systematic terrorism, premeditated murder and intentionally targeting free speech. – Jerusalem Post 

The lack of funds has hampered the IDF’s ability to strengthen and repair security components in communities along its borders in the north and south, a new State Comptroller report has found. – Jerusalem Post 

Over 1,100 Palestinian family members related to terrorists have been denied by the IDF from entering Israel since the wave of terror attacks began a month and a half ago. – Jerusalem Post 

A plane that was about to take off for Turkey from Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday returned to the terminal. The pilot aborted the flight after passengers said they had received photos of aviation disasters on their mobile devices. Israeli authorities believe they were sent by nine people on board using the iPhone AirDrop function. – Jerusalem Post 

The state has failed to protect its security and economic interests from wide-ranging cyberattacks, State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman said Tuesday in his annual report. – Jerusalem Post 

The Islamist Ra’am party announced that it was canceling a scheduled press conference on Wednesday morning in which it was expected to announce its decision on voting with the coalition to fend off an expected legislative attack later in the day. – Times of Israel 

Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov on Tuesday left a Knesset event commemorating Victory Day after lawmakers there criticized Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. – Times of Israel 

A television poll has found that if elections were to be held today, parties currently in the government coalition would drop by several seats into a minority in the Knesset, but the opposition bloc of parties led by Likud would also fall short of a majority. – Times of Israel 

The Likud-led opposition was still weighing Tuesday whether or not to attempt to bring the Knesset a step closer to snap elections on Wednesday. Since Silman’s resignation, Likud and other opposition party members have been vocal about their efforts to pry away additional MKs from the coalition. Reports swirled this week citing Likud sources who claimed they were in talks with potential defectors, without naming names. – Times of Israel  

Speaking to The Times of Israel on Monday, France’s envoy in Tel Aviv expressed a sentiment similar to that of Israeli officials, stressing that close cooperation between the countries would continue, especially in defense and energy.- Times of Israel 

Israel may be the United States’ closest ally in the Middle East, but the world’s only majority-Jewish nation also enjoys a special relationship with Moscow, a relationship now under strain as a result of Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine and the competing narratives surrounding the conflict. – Newsweek 

Boris Epshteyn writes: The antisemitic boycotts have failed. The relationship between the Jewish state and its neighbors is thriving thanks to the Abraham Accords. And Jared Kushner has now once again made an important mark on the international stage. – Newsweek 

Herb Keinon writes: While this idea was much discussed in the immediate aftermath of Operation Guardian of the Walls, as the months passed – and as bureaucratic turf battles emerged – it was pushed to the side. It emerged again in the midst of the latest surge in terror. There is no need now to wait for yet another crisis – the time to actualize this idea has arrived. – Jerusalem Post 

Ben-Dror Yemini writes: The confrontation between Israel and Hamas takes place on two fronts. The military front and the conscious one. It doesn’t matter how strong Israel is on the former front, in the end it always surrenders because of the latter. – Ynet 

Gidon Ben-Zvi writes: By downplaying the actual source of terror, people who scan AFP’s headline might well conclude that Israel is at least indirectly at fault for the Palestinian campaign of violence, which has grown to include attacks on May 8 in Tekoa and Jerusalem Old City’s Damascus Gate, and has resulted in 19 Israelis being killed and dozens more wounded since the end of March. The AFP is the world’s oldest news agency, with news bureaus in 151 countries. As such, it should know better than to imply that there is a spiral of attacks and counter-attacks taking place in Israel. – Algemeiner 

Arabian Peninsula

The United Nations will launch a $144 million appeal on Wednesday for an operation to offload a million barrels of crude oil from a tanker stranded off the coast of war-torn Yemen for years which threatens a major environmental disaster. – Reuters 

Kuwait’s ruler has accepted the embattled government’s resignation more than a month after it quit in a move that plunged the OPEC member deeper into turmoil. – Bloomberg 

Emirates is “connecting people” by still flying to Russia, the airline’s CEO said on Tuesday as he defended the airline’s decision to continue serving routes to Moscow and St. Petersburg. – Business Insider 

Middle East & North Africa

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is in talks with Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt to boost their food storage capacities and diversify their food suppliers, a senior bank official said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Libya’s parliament wants the government it has appointed under Fathi Bashagha to be based for now in Sirte, it said on Tuesday, amid a stalemate over control of the capital Tripoli where another administration refuses to hand over power. – Reuters 

Amid ongoing tensions in Jerusalem, Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Tuesday that Israel has “no sovereignty” over holy sites in the city, which he said were “occupied Palestinian land.” – Times of Israel 

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, expressed his fierce opposition on Monday to the US-mediated talks aimed at settling a maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel — in particular lashing out at Washington’s Israeli-born envoy to the negotiations, Amos Hochstein. – Times of Israel 

Alan Baker writes: It is to be hoped that Jordan will ensure its continued respect for the agreed commitments in the Peace Treaty and will refrain from actions and statements that undermine such commitments. – Jerusalem Post 

China

A Taiwanese human-rights activist accused the Beijing government of mentally torturing him during his five-year imprisonment in mainland China, in his first public remarks since returning to Taiwan. – Wall Street Journal 

A United Nations Weibo post on the World Health Organization chief’s comments that China’s zero-tolerance COVID-19 policy is not sustainable was removed from the Chinese social media platform on Wednesday morning shortly after being published. – Reuters 

China’s military said on Wednesday that it had monitored and warned a U.S. warship that had sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, a mission that happened shortly after China carried out drills near the island. – Reuters 

China said on Tuesday that an expression of concern by the Group of Seven industrialised nations over the selection process for Hong Kong’s new chief executive was interference in China’s internal affairs. – Reuters 

The U.N. Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet will visit China by the end of the month as part of a long-awaited trip that is expected to include the Xinjiang region, a spokesperson said on Tuesday. – Reuters  

America’s intelligence community will engage with Taiwan’s military and political leadership about the lessons that can be drawn from Russia’s faltering war in Ukraine for the island’s defense in the event of a Chinese attack, a top US spy chief said. – Bloomberg 

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron agreed in a phone call on Tuesday on the urgent need for a ceasefire in Ukraine, according to a statement from the Elysee palace in Paris. – Bloomberg 

The State Department has made the first major change to its “fact sheet” on Taiwan in 4 years, stripping some official language to elevate the island’s importance to the U.S. amid increased diplomatic pressure from China. – Newsweek 

Experts watching China’s rapid shipbuilding endeavors may have caught the first glimpse of the country’s new nuclear-powered submarine with the help of satellite images. – Newsweek 

President Joe Biden said he could drop some of the tariffs imposed against Chinese imports to help control rising consumer prices in the U.S. — just as Wall Street braces for another inflation report north of 8%. – CNBC 

South Asia

As hundreds of supporters of Sri Lanka’s powerful Rajapaksa family stormed through the capital Monday, beating anti-government protesters with crude weapons, Prasad Perera clutched his colleagues’ hands and pleaded for peace. – Washington Post 

Sri Lankan authorities extended a curfew another day Wednesday as sporadic violence and arson continued after pro-government mobs attacked peaceful protesters and security forces were ordered to shoot people causing injury and damage. – Associated Press 

Bilahari Kausikan writes: If the United States does not prioritize ASEAN, the diminished value of the regional body may cause China, too, to take it for granted, and it will lose leverage with both powers. ASEAN and its members must better understand that strong relations with the United States are not an alternative to close relations with China but the necessary condition for such ties. ASEAN imagines itself at the center of the geopolitical competition in Southeast Asia, but it could well find itself on the margins, no longer a major actor in its own arena. – Foreign Affairs 

Asia

Angry young voters gathered in the Philippines on Tuesday to protest against Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the former dictator, who clinched a landslide victory this week in one of the most divisive presidential elections in the country’s recent history. – New York Times 

Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s apparent landslide victory in the Philippine presidential election is raising immediate concerns about a further erosion of democracy in Asia and could complicate American efforts to blunt growing Chinese influence and power in the Pacific. – Associated Press 

China’s ambassador to Australia has called on the nations to reach “a healthy and stable relationship” after growing tensions in recent years, continuing a conciliatory tone five months into his posting in Canberra. – Bloomberg 

Keith B. Richburg writes: In tough economic times, nostalgia and amnesia might be more powerful motivators than concern about democratic institutions and guardrails. That is what propelled Bongbong Marcos to victory in the crowded presidential contest in the Philippines. – Washington Post 

Josh Rogin writes: The clear implication of Esper’s warning is that a second-term Trump would have no restraints and nobody around to temper his reckless or thoughtless instincts. That means that ideas Trump has long held — like withdrawing all troops from South Korea — are not just a matter for history. – Washington Post 

Europe

The risk of Ukrainians falling victim to human traffickers will continue to increase the longer the war continues, according to the latest assessment by anti-trafficking organizations. – Washington Post 

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine grinds through its third month, gas shortages are spreading across the country, adding to people’s misery and testing their resilience in new ways. – Washington Post 

Several Jewish travelers say the airline Lufthansa discriminated against them when it blocked more than 100 people from boarding a connecting flight in Frankfurt, Germany, last week, prompting a member of the German parliament to call for an investigation. – Washington Post 

For the past five years, French troops have been training at a NATO military base here, nestled among pine forests, for a conflict that seemed improbable. But Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has suddenly given a new raison d’être to the 200 or so French infantrymen posted in Tapa, a town about 60 miles from the Russian border. – New York Times 

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Tuesday reopened her country’s embassy in Kyiv that was closed more than two months ago following the Russian invasion. – Associated Press 

Albania’s prime minister on Tuesday visited Kosovo’s ex-president Hashim Thaci in a prison in The Netherlands, where he is being held pending trial for alleged war crimes. – Associated Press 

The UK and the EU appeared on a collision course Tuesday over post-Brexit trading arrangements in Northern Ireland, after London branded them unsustainable but European leaders insisted they would not be renegotiated. – Agence France-Presse 

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has revived a decades old idea with a proposal for a new form of European cooperation that goes beyond the EU, but the details of how such a mechanism would work remain murky and also controversial. – Agence France-Presse 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday warned Britain against making any “unilateral” changes to hard-fought post-Brexit trading arrangements in Northern Ireland. – Agence France-Presse  

Ukraine’s foreign minister said Tuesday Kyiv was grateful to Berlin for changing its position towards Moscow, including its stance on a Russian oil embargo and on supplying arms to Ukraine. – Agence France-Presse 

Ukraine’s foreign minister said Tuesday that its membership in the European Union was a question of “war and peace” on the continent. – Agence France-Presse 

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said allies should start work on negotiations toward a long-lasting peace process in Ukraine, even as they continue to sanction Russia over its invasion of the country. – Bloomberg 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his nation has taken “a very important” step toward the country’s path to the European Union after a Monday meeting with the secretary general of the Council of Europe. – The Hill 

The Russia-aligned nation will also prepare air defense, missile units, and artillery for drills in its northwestern and western regions as Belarusian leaders fret about elevated NATO activity near the country’s borders they claim is a growing threat. – Washington Examiner 

There is “credible” information that Russian prisoners of war have been mistreated by Ukrainian forces since the beginning of the Russian invasion in February, a United Nations official said. – Washington Examiner 

David Ignatius writes: Armenia has a problem that Ukrainians may eventually have to confront. After suffering so much in battle, how can a nation make peace with countries that have caused so much pain and suffering? It’s an age-old problem, especially for a nation like Armenia that has experienced genocide. Blessed are the peacemakers, even if they’re not very popular right now in a still-grieving Yerevan. – Washington Post 

Henry Olsen writes: Britain is our closest ally, and it’s always in our interest to have a strong and confident leader at the helm. The local elections gave Johnson a reprieve from months of scandal to show he can be that person. He needs to seize the moment before another winter of discontent convinces Britons it’s time for a change. – Washington Post 

Andreas Kluth writes: Scholz, the nominal addressee of the letters, remains careful — as he should — but now also tells Germans that “we cannot allow ourselves to be paralyzed by fear,” and that Putin must not win. Seventy-seven years to the week after the end of the world war Germans caused, he says, this is the meaning of “never again.” – Bloomberg 

Hal Brands writes: So far, the U.S. and its allies have been very effective at coercing Putin’s Russia. […]Thanks to Ukraine’s incredible resistance, the U.S. and its friends have put Putin on the wrong end of a brutal proxy war. Now Washington just needs to shut up about it. – Bloomberg 

Alexander Stubb writes: The timing for Finnish and Swedish Nato membership has been carefully crafted. Anyone suggesting that membership should be delayed is naive, follows Putin’s playbook or has a limited understanding of the security situation in north-eastern Europe. – Financial Times 

Alexander Vindman writes: If peace will come only on the heels of a military breakthrough, then the United States has an obligation to help Ukraine win on the battlefield. Those worried about escalation with Russia must understand that the risks of a Ukrainian victory are greatly exaggerated. The risks of a Ukrainian loss are far greater and would entail irreversible damage to the liberal order, international law, security norms, and global stability. That is an outcome that the United States cannot afford and should be doing everything in its power to avoid. – Foreign Affairs 

Anna Reid writes: Not all of these dreams—of security, a thriving modern economy, returning families, well-planned new cities—are likely to come true. (Shevchenko puts the chance of a real cleanup of corrupt local planning departments at 30 to 40 percent.) But the fact that they are being discussed at all, even as a brutal war continues to unfold, shows how determined Ukrainians are to win, and how their unity and sense of identity has been strengthened by the Russian threat. – Foreign Affairs 

Dalibor Rohac writes: But that is no reason for the European institutions and governments of the remaining 26 countries to indulge him.  They must turn off the spigot and boycott Hungarian representatives in the Council — just as the rest of the EU boycotted Austria in 2000, after the far-right Freedom Party of Austria joined its governing coalition. When it puts its mind to it, the EU can play hardball. For the sake of self-preservation, it’s time that it does so now, and stop coddling a revisionist autocrat aligned with Moscow and Beijing. – Politico 

Azeem Ibrahim writes: Even in a time of political upheaval, the duty of the United Kingdom towards Northern Ireland remains clear. It must attempt to uphold the letter and the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement, even if European intransigence indicates that these concerns are far from front of mind in Brussels. – The National Interest 

Mart Kuldkepp writes: Everyone needs to exercise their critical and moral faculties when thinking and talking about Russia’s war against Ukraine—including about claims like the ones I’ve made in this article. Exercise source criticism, and trust the voices that have made accurate predictions in the past. But most of all, listen to the people affected by and fighting against this invasion: Ukrainians. – Foreign Policy 

Africa

Britain said on Tuesday the first group of illegal migrants with no right to stay in the UK will this week be informed of the government’s intention to relocate them to Rwanda under its new immigration plan. – Reuters 

Botswana has been inundated with inquiries to supply coal to Europe and estimates that demand from Western countries could top a million tonnes a year, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Tuesday, as the Ukraine war forces Europe to pivot more to Africa for energy resources. – Reuters 

At least 14 people were killed in an overnight attack on a displaced persons camp in east Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri province, the latest violence in an area overrun by militants, the army and a civil society leader said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

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